Decade Rankings: 1910-1919

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(1) Jack Dempsey  6’1”,188–Dempsey became a great celebrity during the roaring twenties but his greatness really was earned during this decade. In 1918 and 1919 Dempsey took the division by storm knocking out all the top contenders and destroying the champion in only three rounds. His record from 1915 to 1919 was 51-3-7. He lost to Willie Meehan in two 4 round bouts and lost in a first round knockout to Fireman Jim Flynn that he later reversed. Fighters who fell to Dempsey murderous attack were Willie Meehan, Fireman Jim Flynn, Gunboat Smith(2), Carl Morris(2), Bill Brennan, Billy Miske, Porky Dan Flynn, Fred Fulton, Battling Levinsky and Willard. Dempsey suffered three losses at the hands of Fireman Jim Flynn and Willie Meehan in 1917 and Meehan again in 1918. He also fought a draw against Meehan. (59-4-11)

(2)  Harry Wills  6’2”, 210-  The Black Panther belongs on any list of all-time greats. His longevity alone put him in a class by himself. He also was never given the opportunity to fight for the heavyweight title. During his years at the top Jack Johnson was mostly inactive and so was Jess Willard. The Total title fights during the decade was an all-time low of only seven. Therefore the top fighters of the decade were unable to show their talents. Like all the other great black fights of the decade Wills usually faced other negro heavyweights in a long series of fights. Wills was probably the best of the lot. For the Record: Sam Langford(9-2-1), Joe Jeannette(1-0-2), Sam McVea(2-2), Jeff Clark(4-0-2), Willie Meehan(1-0), Bill Tate(1-0), Battling Jim Johnson(0-1). The thing to remember about Wills fights against Langford late in the decade was the Wills was in his prime and Langford was 34 and 35 years old, well past his prime and his eye sight was in question. (49-6-3) 7 NC

(3) Sam Langford  5’7”, 187- The Boston Tar Baby was one of the all-time greats who was never allowed to fight for the title. Because he was a black fighter he was always fighting under unfavorable terms and situations and with little rest. He was overused and had to fight long series of matches against other negro fighters of the day. He faced Harry Wills, Sam McVea and Joe Jeannette on countless occasions. For the record: Harry Wills(2-9-1), Joe Jeannette(5-2-5), Sam McVea(4-1-3), Fireman Jim Flynn(1-0-1), Stanley Ketchell(1-0), Battling Jim Johnson(9-0-2), Al Kubiak(1-0), Jeff Clark(3-2-2), Bill Lang(1-0), Philadelphia Jack O’Brien(1-0), Tony Ross(1-0), Porky Dan Flynn(2-0), Gunboat Smith(1-1), Tom McMahon(1-0), Bill Tate(3-1-1), Fred Fulton(0-2), Kid Norfolk(1-0), Willie Meehan(0-1): (77-22-16) 7 NC

 (4) Fred Fulton  6’6”, 225- From 1914 to 1922 there was no bigger guardian of the heavyweight division than Fulton. During a nine years stretch he was one of the top five fighters in the world. A product of the great white hope era, Fulton was one of the best from that period if not the best. He was one of the few heavyweights that crossed the color line fighting some of the top black fighters of the day. Victories during this nine year period include: Arthur Pelkey, Porky Dan Flynn(5), Fireman Jim Flynn, Charley Weinert(2), Sam Langford in a 7-KO, Carl Morris(2), Frank Moran(2), Willie Meehan(2), Langford again and Bartley Madden. Losses were to Carl Morris on Disqualification, Al Palzer, Jack Dempsey and in 1920 Harry Wills in a 3-KO. He fought to draws against Billy Miske and Bartley Madden.(53-7-1)

 (5) Sam McVea 5’10”, 217- McVea like Wills, Langford and Jeannette were all at a big disadvantage during this period, fighting for low pay and battling each other in long series. McVea was never given a chance at the title but certainly deserved a shot at Johnson or Willard. He held his own against the best the decade had to offer. For the Record: Sam Langford(2-5-5), Harry Wills(2-2), Joe Jeannette(0-1-2), Al Kubiak(1-0), Battling Jim Johnson(6-0-1), Bill Lang(1-0), Arthur Pelkey(1-0), Jeff Clark(3-0), Sandy Ferguson(1-0). (35-8-6) 3 NC

(6) Joe Jeannette  5’10”,195 –Jeannette was part of the legendary black fighters that dominated the era and were blackballed in the heavyweight division. Jeannette more than held his own against the top black fighters of the day. His record during the decade was 2-5-1 against Sam Langford, 0-1-2 against Harry Wills and was 1-0-2 against Sam McVea. Other top fighters Bartley Madden(1-0), Clay Turner(1-0), Kid Norfolk(2-0), Arthur Pelkey(1-0), George Carpentier(1-0), Black Bill(5-0), Al Kubiak(1-0), Porky Dan Flynn(2-0), Jack “Twin” Sullivan(1-0), Battling Jim Johnson(7-1-1), Bill Tate(4-0), Jeff Clark(1-1-1), Tony Ross(2-0-1).(84-11-6) 10 NC

 (7) Gunboat Smith  6’2”, 180- Gunboat was one of the top heavies in the world from 1912 to 1915. Following 1915 he was pretty washed up and became no more than a trial horse for young fighters. But during his prime he beat some of the best the division had to offer: Al Kubiak, Jack Twin Sullivan, Frank Moran, Bombardier Billy Wells, Jess Willard, Fireman Jim Flynn(2), Carl Morris, Tony Ross, Sam Langford, Arthur Pelkey, Jim Coffey and Battling Levinsky. His losses during this period were to Porky Dan Flynn in 1912, George Carpentier, Battling Levinsky and Sam Langford in 1914. (69-36-12)

 (8) Jack Johnson  6”1”, 208- The Jack Johnson that fought Jim Jeffries in 1910 was a far cry from the overweight out of shape champion that took the title with him into exile from 1912 to 1915. From 1910 to 1915 when he lost the title to Willard in Havana, Cuba, Johnson had only five fights. He beat Jeffries, Fireman Jim Flynn, Frank Moran and loss to Jess Willard and a draw against Battling Jim Johnson. Hardly a real claim to greatness; Most of his fights in the ladder half of the decade were against no names fought in Spain or Mexico. To say Johnson was overrated during this decade is an understatement. Johnson was just not active enough to rate any higher even though he was the champion. Jeffries fight was big but big Jeff was well past his prime. (12-1-1)

(9) Jess Willard  6’7”, 238- Willard is best remembered for his loss of the title to Jack Dempsey in 1919. He defeated Jack Johnson to gain the title. Other victims who fell to The Giant were Arthur Pelkey, Carl Morris and Frank Moran. His losses during the decade were to Dempsey and Gunboat Smith. He fought a draw against Luther McCarty.(25-5-1)

(10) Tommy Gibbons   6’0”,187-  Gibbons was undefeated during the decade and held wins over Billy Miske(2), Harry Greb, Battling Levinksy and Bartley Madden. Remember in the ladder part of the decade there were no chances to fight for the title because Willard was inactive most of the four years he held the title. (48-0-3) 1 NC

 (11) Carl Morris  6’4”, 224- Another product of the white hope era, Morris just never could make it to the top but he fought most of the top fighters of the day. Wins included Fred Fulton, Fireman Jim Flynn, Al Kubiak, Porky Dan Flynn, Arthur Pelkey, Gunboat Smith, Battling Levinsky, Frank Moran. His losses were to Luther McCarthy, Al Kubiak, Gunboat Smith, Jess Willard, Jim Coffey, Fred Fulton, Billy Miske and Jack Dempsey(3).(47-16-2)

(12) Jack Dillon 5’7 ½”, 173- One of the best light heavyweights to ever enter the ring. He had an outstanding record against all fighters during the decade. He fought Battling Levinsky(6-2-1), Frank Klaus(1-2-1), Hugo Kelly(1-0), Jack “Twin” Sullivan(1-0), Leo Houck(1-1), Fireman “Jim” Flynn (4-0-1), Charley Weinert(2-0), Porky Dan Flynn(3-0), Gunboat Smith(3-0), Billy Miske(1-3-1), Frank Moran(1-0), Mike Gibbons(0-1), Al McCoy 2-0-1), Harry Greb(0-2), Willie Meehan(0-1).(179-22-32)

 (13) Luther McCarty  6’4”, 205-  One of the tragic stories in boxing history who died following his fight with Arthur Pelkey. McCarty defeated Carl Morris, Al Kaufman, Fireman Jim Flynn(2), Al Palzer and Frank Moran. He lost to Jeff Clarke and of course Pelkey. He fought a draw against Jess Willard. (19-4-1)

(14) Harry Greb 5’8”, 166- One of the greatest fighters to ever enter a boxing ring. In 1917 he emerged as one of the top fighters in the world even though he weighed only 166 pounds. He took on all comers defeating Jack Dillon(2), Jeff Smith(2), Willie Meehan(2), Gunboat Smith, Battling Levinsky(6), Billy Miske(2), Bill Brennan(2), Bartley Madden and Mike Gibbons. Although he did lose some fights during the decade most of those were early in his career. (149-12-11)

 (15) Billy Miske 6’0”, 180-  Miske was a very active fighter during the decade. He fought almost every top fighter during the decade in a number of battles. Tommy Gibbons 0-1-1, Harry Greb 0-2-1, Jack Dillon 2-1-1, Battling Levinksy (2-1-1), Charley Weinert (2-0), Kid Norfolk (0-2), Fred Fulton-Draw, Gunboat Smith (2-0), Jack Dempsey (0-1-1), Willie Meehan (1-0-1), Bartley Madden (1-0), Fireman Jim Flynn (1-0) and Bill Brennan (1-0-1). (50-12-16) 1-NC
 (16)-Battling Levinsky- 5’11”, 175- Battliing Levinsky fought just about everybody that was anybody during the decade and was seen as one of the toughest fighters around. He face Jack Dillon(2-5-2), Jack “Twin” Sullivan(1-1), Porky Dan Flynn(5-0-3), Charley Weinert(2-0-1), Fireman Jim Flynn(3-0), Jim Coffey(6-0-1), Bartley Madden(4-1-1), Gunboat Smith(3-1-2), Billy Miske(2-2), Carl Morris(0-1), Tommy Gibbons(0-1), Harry Greb(0-6), Bill Brennan(1-1-2), Jack Dempsey(0-1). (153-38-32)

 (17) Kid Norfolk 5’9” 183- A very impressive African American fighter who had a strong record. Jeff Clark(2-1), Bill Tate(2-0), Arthur Pelkey(1-0), Gunboat Smith(2-0), Billy Miske(2-0), Sam Langford(0-1), Porky Dan Flynn(1-0), Battling Jim Johnson (1-0), Joe Jeannette(0-2), Clay Turner(1-2). (39-7-1)

(18) Frank Moran 6’1”, 190-  Moran big claim to fame in that there were only four heavyweight title fights from 1914 to 1919 and he was in two of them. He lost a 20-D to Jack Johnson in 1914 in Paris and lost a 10-D to Jess Willard in New York City. Outside of these two fights there is not much to rave about for Moran during the decade. He victims include Al Palzer(2), Bombadier Wells and Jim Coffey. His losses were very numerous; Al Kubiak, Tony Ross, Gunboat Smith(2), Jack Johnson, Jess Willard, Jack Dillon, Carl Morris and Fred Fulton. (32-15-5) 1 NC

 (19) Bill Brennan 6’1”, 196- Brennan fought Dempsey twice and lost both times, he was a top contender from 1917 to 1922. His record against the top fighters of the period. Bartley Madden(2-1), Battling Levinsky(1-1-2), Jim Coffey, Draw, Jack Dempsey(0-1), Harry Greb(0-4) and Billy Miske(0-1-1). (48-13-6)

(20) Willie Meehan 5’9”, 198- Hard to believe this guy is on the list but you have to put him down as one of the top fighters during the decade, all he did defeat Jack Dempsey, Sam Langford and Jack Dillon. Those are some names that get your attend. Record looks like Jack Dempsey(2-0-2), Jack Dillon(1-0), Harry Greb(0-2), Billy Miske(0-1), Fred Fulton(0-2), Sam Langford(1-0), Jeff Clark(1-0).  (75-29-38)

*average weight of the 1920-1929 fighters 192
*average weight of the 1910-1919 fighters 196
(Fighters record during the decade)

History of the Heavyweight Division 1900-1919
Top Three Heavyweights

1910-Champion, Jack Johnson    Def. Jim Jeffries 15-KO

                #1 Sam Langford                Def. Dixie Kid 3-KO

                                (10-0-1)                 DR Fireman Jim Flynn 10-Draw

                                                                Def. Fireman Jim Flynn 8-KO

                                                                Def. Stanley Ketchell 6-D

                                                                Def. Battling Jim Johnson 6-D

                                                                Def. Al Kubiak 2-KO
                                                               
Def. Joe Jeannette 15-D

                                                                Def. Jeff Clarke 2-KO

                #2 Stanley Ketchell            DR Frank Klaus 6-DR

                                (3-1-1)                   Loss Sam Langford 6-D

                                                                Def. Porky Dan Flynn 3-KO

1911-Champion, Jack Johnson     Inactive

                #1 Sam McVea                    DR Sam Langford 20-Draw

                                (7-0-1)                   Def. Sam Langford 20-D

                #2 Sam Langford                Def. Joe Jeannette 12-D

                                (11-1-1)                 DR Sam McVea 20-Draw

                                                                Def. Phil. Jack O’Brien 5-KO

                                                                Def. Tony Ross 6-KO

                                                                Def. Joe Jeannette 10-D

                                                                Loss Sam McVea 20-D

1912-Champion, Jack Johnson   Def. Fireman Jim Flynn 9-KO

                #1 Sam Langford                Def. Sam McVea 20-D

                                (7-0)                       Porky Dan Flynn 14-KO

                                                                Def. Sam McVea 20-D

                                                                Def. Sam McVea 11-KO

                                                                Def. Sam McVea 13-KO

                #2 Porky Dan Flynn             Loss Sam Langford 14-KO

                                (6-1)                       def. Gunboat Smith 10-D (controversial decision)

1913-Champion, Jack Johnson   Def. Battling Jim Johnson 10-D

                #1  Gunboat Smith             Def. Bombardier Billy Wells 2-KO

                                (12-0)                    Def. Jess Willard 20-D

                                                                Def. Fireman Jim Flynn 5-KO

                                                                Def. Carl Morris 5-Disq

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 12-D

                #2  Sam Langford               DR Sam McVea 20-Draw

                                (5-1-3)                   Def. Porky Dan Flynn 4-KO

                                                                DR Joe Jeannette 10-Draw

                                                                Loss Gunboat Smith 12-D

1914-Champion, Jack Johnson   Def. Frank Moran 20-D

                #1 Sam McVea                    Def. Arthur Pelkey 4-KO

                                                                Def. Battling Johnson 10-D

                                                                Def. Harry Wills 20-D

                #2 Sam Langford                Def. Battling Jim Johnson 10-D

                                (13-3-1)                 Loss Harry Wills 10-D

                                                                Battling Jim Johnson 10-D

                                                                DR Battling Jim Johnson 12-Draw

                                                                Loss Joe Jeannette 10-D

                                                                Def. Gunboat Smith 3-KO

                                                                Loss Jeff Clarke 10-D

                                                                Def. Harry Wills 14-KO

                #3 Joe Jeannette                Def. George Carpentier 15-D disputed

                                (12-1-1)                 Loss Harry Wills 10-D

                                                                Def. Battling Jim Johnson 10-D

                                                                ND Battling Jim Johnson 10-ND

                                                                ND Battling Jim Johnson 10-ND

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 10-D

                                                                DR Battling Jim Johnson 12-Draw

                #4 Harry Wills                      Def. Sam Langford 10-D

                                (12-2)                    Def. Joe Jeannette 12-D

                                                                Def. Willie Meehan 4-D

                                                                Loss Sam Langford 14-KO

                                                                Loss Sam McVea 20-D

                #5 Jeff Clarke                      Def. Sam Langford 10-D

                                (8-0)

1915-Champion, Jess Willard  Def. Jack Johnson 26-KO

                #1-Sam McVea                    Def. Battling Jim Johnson 20-D

                                (6-1-2)                   DR Joe Jeannette 12-Draw

                                                                Def. Harry Wills 10-D

                                                                Def. Battling Jim Johnson 10-D

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 12-D

                                                                Loss Harry Wills 12-D

                                                                DR Sam Langford 20-Draw

                                                                Def. Jeff Clarke 10-D

                                                                NC Sam Langford 10-ND

                #2 Harry Wills                       Loss Sam McVea 10-D

                                (3-1)                       NC Battling Jim Johnson 10-NC

                                                                Def. Sam McVea 12-D

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 10-D

1916-Champion,Jess Willard   Def. Frank Moran 10-D     

                #1 Harry Wills                       Def. Sam Langford 20-D

                                (9-1)                       Loss Sam Langford 19-KO

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 10-D

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 8-D

                                                                Def. Jeff Clarke 8-D

                                                                Def. Bill tate 10-D

                #2 Sam Langford                Loss Harry Wills 20-D

                                (7-3-3)                   Def. Harry Wills 19-KO

                                                                DR. Sam McVea 10-Draw

                                                                Loss Harry Wills 10-D

                                                                Def. Jeff Clark 5-KO

                                                                Def. Sam McVea 10-D

                                                                Def. Joe Jeannette 7-KO

                                                                DR. Sam McVea 20-Draw

                                                                DR Bill Tate 10-Draw

                                                                Def. Battling Jim Johnson 12-KO

1917-Champion, Jess Willard  Inactive

                #1 Harry Wills                       Loss  Battling Jim Johnson 2-KO

                                (4-1-1)                   Draw Sam Langford 6-DR

                                                                ND Battling Jim Johnson 10-ND

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 10-D

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 12-D

                                                                Def. Jeff Clark 5-KO

#2 Fred Fulton                     Def. Charley Weinert 2-KO

                                (10-3, 2-Disq)       Loss Carl Morris 5-Disq

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 7-KO

                                                                Def. Carl Morris 6-Disq

                                                                Def. Gunboat Smith 7-KO

#3 Sam Langford                Def. Battling Jim Johnson 12-D

                                (8-4-1)                   Loss Bill Tate 12-D

                                                                Def. Bill Tate 5-KO

                                                                Draw Harry Wills 6-DR

                                                                Loss Fred Fulton 7-KO

                                                                Def. Joe Jeannette 12-D

                                                                Loss Harry Wills 10-D

                                                                Loss Harry Wills 12-D

                                                                Def. Kid Norfolk 2-KO

1918-Champion, Jess Willard  Inactive

                #1 Jack Dempsey               Def. Carl Morris 6-DISQ      

                                (19-1)                    Def. Fireman Jim Flynn 1-KO

                                                                Def. Bill Brennan 6-KO

                                                                Draw Billy Miske 10-DR

                                                                Def. Arthur Pelkey 1-KO

                                                                Def. Fred Fulton 1-KO

                                                                Loss Willie Meehan 4-D

                                                                Def. Battling Levinsky 3-KO

                                                                Def. Billy Miske 6-D

                                                                Def. Carl Morris 1-KO

                                                                Def. Gunboat Smith 2-KO 

                #2 Harry Wills                       Def. Sam McVea 5-KO

                                (4-0, 2-ND)            Def. Sam Langford 6-KO

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 7-KO

                                                                Def. Jeff Clark 5-KO

                #3 Fred Fulton                     Draw Billy Miske 10-DR

                                (9-1-1, 2 ND)        Def. Frank Moran 3-KO

                                                                Loss Jack Dempsey 1-KO

                                                                Def. Willie Meehan 4-D

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 4-D

                #4 Billy Miske                      Draw Fred Fulton 10-DR

                                (11-2-3)                 Def.  Gunboat Smith 10-D

                                                                Draw Jack Dempsey 10-DR

                                                                Draw Willie Meehan 4-DR

                                                                Def. Gunboat Smith 8-D

                                                                Def. Bartley Madden 8-D

                                                                Loss Harry Greb 10-D

                                                                Loss Jack Dempsey 6-D

                                                                Def. Fireman Jim Flynn 2-KO

1919-Champion, Jack Dempsey    Def. Jess Willard 3-KO

                #1 Harry Wills                       Def. Sam Langford 8-D

                                                                Def. Jeff Clark 4-KO

                                                                NC Sam Langford 10-ND

                                                                Def. Joe Jeannette 8-D

                                                                Def. Sam Langford 15-D

                #2 Fred Fulton                     Def. Willie Meehan 4-D

                                (6-0)

                #3 Tommy Gibbons            NC Bartley Madden 10-ND

                                (8-0-1)                   Def. Bob Roper 10-D

                                                                Draw Billy Miske 10-DR

                #4 Harry Greb                       Def. Bill Brennan 10-D

                                (45-0)                    Def. Battling Levinsky 10-D

                                                                Def. Chuck Wiggins 8-D

                                                                Def. Chuck Wiggins 12-D

                                                                Def. Bill Brennan 10-D

                                                                Def. Billy Miske 10-D

                                                                Def. Battling Levinsky 12-D

                                                                Def. Willie Meehan 10-D

                                                                Def. Bartley Madden 10-D

                                                                Def. Mike Gibbons 10-D

                                                                Def. Bill Brennan 15-D

                                                                Def. Battling Levinsky 6-D

                                                                Def. Bill Brennan 10-D

                                                                Def. Jeff Smith 12-D

                                                                Def. Battling Levinsky 10-D

                                                                Def. Mike McTigue 10-D

                #5 Billy Miske                      Loss Harry Greb 10-D

                                (4-2-3)                   Def. Bill Brennan 15-D

                                                                Def. Willie Meehan 10-D

                                                                Draw Tommy Gibbons 10-DR

                                                                Loss Kid Norfolk 10-D

                                                                Draw Battling Levinsky 10-DR

 

 

 

 

 


 


 

Liston Ali

jeffries book

Jim Carney Looks
at Boxing Greats

Fred Fulton

Joe Frazier

Ernie Terrell

Senya13 and the Annals of Boxing History

Boxing Illustrated April of 1964
Harry Wills article and The Year in Review

 

 

 

   
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